“Shattered Dreams: The Arranged Marriage” by Jyotsna Ramani is a short but for me incredibly moving story about a young girl and her arranged marriage. In a world where love is not the only sound foundation for a marriage one can relate to our heroine’s doubts and differing thoughts and feelings about agreeing to such a marriage herself. What is important in her life? Career, love, material security, partnership, family?
Parental pressure, even if not expressed directly, and societal conventions, get her to hesitate and fail to make up her own mind in time.
I particularly loved the details in the description of the entire process of the arranging as much as I loved the insight into our heroine’s manifold thoughts on the matter.
Unfortunately in this case materialism is the driving force behind her parents decision to push her into the marriage but in this well presented novel we get a hint at other possible reasoning to enter such an arrangement.
As Western European I found this book accidentally insightful rather than lecturing, the story at the heart of this book is incredibly touching and stayed with me long after I finished the book.
Shattered Dreams 3 has just been released!
Hi Jyotsna, thanks for taking the time for this little interview. Tell us how you came to write this story about an arranged marriage?
Well, I feel arranged marriages are the biggest shams of Indian society. I am totally against the idea and have always wanted to voice my opinion. I found a chance when AMD publishing asked me to write a story.
You released parts of the story individually as short stories. Why did you decide on this serialisation?
It’s a 3 part series. I wanted to write just 1 short piece to give a glimpse into the Indian society. However, the response for part 1 was splendid so my publisher pushed me to write a series. Here we are at the launch of part 3, which is also the final part of the series.
Was the ending already clear before you published the first part or was it still open at the time?
I always keep my stories open when I start. I myself don’t have a clue as to what will happen next. The story forms by it’s own as and when I start writing. Sometimes, even I am surprised at the outcome.
As I understand you have written a lot in a pretty short space of time. Tell us a little about your writing and editing process.
We have professional editors as part of the publishing unit I work with. That saves a us a lot of time and we can quickly publish a new piece.
Have you always written?
Well yes but mostly letters to my pen pals J I used to write short stories and poems for my school magazines and slowly got into professional content creation and moved on to fiction from there.
Have you got plans beyond the series?
No plans so far. I am working on a YA novella but it’s not quite “there” yet. I will wait to see the response for Part 3 and maybe we will start the new book promos in 2014.
What is your writing environment like? Can you tolerate music or noise or are you a reclusive writer?
Very reclusive. I cannot think if there is a lot of noise / music or any kind of disturbance around. Also, I have to be alone when I am writing.
Are the characters based on any real people or events?
No they aren’t. However, many aspects like social norms, Indian society values, upper class and lower class conflicts etc are prevalent throughout India .
Which of your characters was most fun to write?
Anurag ! The hot guy whom Radha falls for, but a tad too late.
Are you like any of the characters?
No but I have met people like “Radha” who are submissive and let go of their dreams for family values and norms.
What is your life like?
Well pretty simple – Spending time with family, writing and globetrotting.
What are your views on independent publishing?
I think it’s a great platform for authors who don’t have big publishing houses to back them up. Everyone can achieve their dreams / goals, if they want to.
Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?
Well, I just love all indie books I read. I especially liked Julie Cassar’s Ruby Blue series (YA genre).
What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?
Loyal and Quirky.
What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?
Tiger / Black / Jungle safaris
What would you take to a remote island?
What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?
Well, I am writing a YA novella. I always post on WaAr (FB group) about all my new projects.
Book One on Amazon: http://bookShow.me/B00AU10IH4
Book Two on Amazon: http://bookShow.me/B00B427Q82
Book Three on Amazon: http://bookShow.me/B00GFVTR0W
Jyotsna on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7259704.Jyotsna_Ramani
Jyotsna on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jyotsna.ramani?fref=ts
Here is another great review from Goodreads:
A deliciously addictive tale of love and betrayal, Jyotsna Ramani’s ‘Shattered Dreams: The Arranged Marriage’ is a compelling, intriguing tale that will drop your jaws and leave it there. If you’re a Westerner or anyone who lives in a culture in which arranged marriages are no longer practiced, you might be shocked or appalled—yes, in India, where the novel takes places, the practice is still strongly enforced, which leaves the younger people—people who have been exposed to other cultures and who have seen what is possible “on the other side”—in a state of anguish.
One person in such a state is main character Radha—a promising young woman who, despite her accomplishments, must submit to the demand of her parents to marry a man they have chosen for her. Radha, whose intellect and talents have naturally exposed her to a strong awareness of what else is out there in the world, could not accept that she must blindly follow her parents’ wishes. Yet, ultimately, she must follow them, and force herself to accept her fate. And there’s the rub—Radha wants another man, and her own feelings trap her on the horns of a painful dilemma.
Ramani’s writing is crisp and “punchy”, with an electric undercurrent of tension underneath all the internal emotional turmoil. You are in the front row, watching Radha’s misery and turmoil bubble up from underneath her forced smiles and tradition’s demands for “decency” and obedience. ‘Shattered Dreams’ is as appalling as a trainwreck happening before your eyes—yet you cannot look away and pretend it’s not happening. For that reason, this is a story that must be read by a wider audience—yes, especially those outside India.
Overall, I love ‘Shattered Dreams: The Arranged Marriage’ to shreds. Ramani’s careful yet powerful handling of the novel’s tension and emotion shows absolute literary confidence. What’s more, if you love this first book, you’ll be glad to know that Ramani’s Shattered Dreams trilogy is up for a series of scheduled promotions: Book 1 is now on a reduced price of $.99 (until Oct. 25 to 26), whereas Book 2 will be free to download on Nov. 1 and 2, and Book 3 is free to download on Nov. 8 and 9. Order a copy of Ramani’s book and enjoy the entire trilogy for free. Highly recommended!
arranged marriage, India, Jyotsna Ramani author, writer